life beyond the well…


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I. CAN’T. BREATHE.

I can’t breathe.

That’s what Eric Garner said over and over again, as the NYPD officer held him in an outlawed choke hold, pressing his knee into his back, eventually leading to his death.

I can’t breathe.

I can’t breathe. I may not be in a physical choke hold, but this- these cases of police misconduct and the killing of unarmed people of color is choking the life out of me, out of my people, out of our communities, out of our children.

I can’t breathe because I am (we are) in this abusive relationship that forces me (us) to be afraid of those who are in place to protect me (us), and I (we) see no way of escape. There are no shelters where I (we) can escape for my (our) protection. I am (we are) searching for refuge, for equal footing, for right standing and it doesn’t appear to be available.

I can’t breathe because I (we) spend all of this energy trying to be the “good” or “safe” black person, even though I (we) know that while I (we) can change my (our) name, neighborhood, job, clothes, education level, friends, behavior…I (we) CANNOT change the very thing that makes other people feel afraid or threatened: my (our) skin color.

I can’t breathe because I am (we are) exhausted by the constant stream of microaggressions I (we) face, of having to deal with “good decisions” that have racist implications, of having to decide if I (we) should speak up because of knowing (expecting) the response to be that I am (we are) “playing the race card” or “being too sensitive”.

But.

If I have to “play the race card” or “be too sensitive” because it forces you to be more careful, more thoughtful, more intentional in your interactions and decisions regarding people like me- so be it.

I will not continue to be uncomfortable so that you can maintain your comfort. No. It’s time for us to be uncomfortable together.

Discomfort produces action. Appropriate action produces change.

What is appropriate action? I challenge our communities, ESPECIALLY our communities of faith to address these issues, then act.  Hear the stories of hurt, of anger, of fear- and then do the work that helps to change hearts. Share the gospel. Love like Jesus. While I hear and understand the cries for justice, I know that the true need is Jesus. True acceptance of Jesus compels our hearts and our minds to change.

My prayer in this situation is best encompassed in the lyrics of “Build Your Kingdom Here” by Rend Collective Experiment: 

“We are Your church.
We pray revive this earth.
Build Your kingdom here.
Let the darkness fear.
Show Your mighty hand.
Heal our streets and land.
Set Your church on fire.
Win this nation back.
Change the atmosphere.
Build Your kingdom here.
We pray.
Unleash Your kingdom’s power
reaching the near and far.
No force of Hell can stop
Your beauty changing hearts.
You made us for much more than this!
Awake the kingdom seed in us!
Fill us with the strength and love of Christ.
We are Your church.
We are the hope on earth.”

Amen.


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Really Louisiana Legislature?

Shout out to A-Dub for showing me this YouTube link.

You’d think that there would be other topics to discuss in the Louisiana State Legislature instead of having Hurricane Chris perform. I get it. I know you want to recognize the Shreveport native for his accolades and hard work. But is this really the time? How about taking care of the budget issues, education, and poverty that is plaguing the state? Or taking care of the issues that are still present because of Hurricane Katrina?

Instead, you result to this:

While there are plenty of things that make me laugh in this video, I’m really saddened by this. And it’s not just the Louisiana legislature. Our elected officials are really slacking on their responsibilities as leaders across the board. It’s time that we demand more, and hold them accountable. We deserve better.


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Mr. President, can you excuse me from…

My president is pretty cool.  I’ve always thought that, but after hearing about this story last week, it’s been confirmed.

While at a town hall meeting, President Obama was asked a question by a man in the audience.  The man also mentioned that he had brought along his daughter, Kennedy, to the town hall meeting and he hoped that her absence would be excused.

Our president, being who he is, proceeds to write a letter for Kennedy, which says, “To Kennedy’s Teacher:  Please excuse Kennedy’s absence.  She’s with me.”

Since I now know that he’s in the excuse letter writing business, I have some things that I need him to excuse me from…and also some things that need to be excused:

  1. Faculty Meetings
  2. Faculty In-Service Training
  3. HR Meetings
  4. Anything that requires me to consistently wear a skirt/dress
  5. Long lines at the grocery store
  6. Any Wal-Mart that doesn’t offer butter cream cupcakes
  7. Plies, T-Pain, and on some occasions, Lil Wayne
  8. Marvin Sapp’s “Never Would Have Made It” sandwiched between two secular songs (ie: Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop”, Never Would Have Made It, Shirley Murdock’s “As We Lay”)
  9. Rude people
  10. THAT coworker (everyone has one…and if you can’t think of one, you’re THAT coworker for everyone else)
  11. Florida Traffic/Drivers (Are you really blowing your horn AS SOON AS the light turns green, when you’re car #4 at the light?  You weren’t going to be moving right away ANYWAY)
  12. Mosquitoes
  13. People who constantly retweet on Twitter
  14. The Iphone vs. Blackberry debate
  15. Skinny jeans and scarfs for men

Okay…so I think I’ll stop there.  For now.  What would you want President Obama to excuse you from or to just excuse in general?


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100 Days!

It’s official.  President Obama has survived his first 100 days in office.  In case you’re not clear on what has been accomplished, you can check out this very neat interactive calendar provided by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

You can click on each day, and a pop up shows something that President Obama accomplished on that day.  I think it’s pretty cool.

I also think that over these past 100 days, President Obama has become more comfortable and extremely more confident in his ability to lead our country.  While he always spoke very eloquently about his belief that he had what it takes to lead our country, I feel that now he’s being more assertive about his agenda, and really tackling the issues head-on…as a president should.

Yes, it’s a crazy chaotic situation in America.  We’re at war, in a horrible recession, and facing a terrible sickness-  among other things.  But overall, it’s been a good 100 days.

Kudos to you, President Obama!


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What Losing White Privilege Sounds Like…

For those of you who haven’t heard/seen the John McCain concession speech, I like to think of it as “what losing white privilege sounds like.”

Tim Wise wrote about white privilege and the role that it played in the election.  You can read my entry on it here.

But for now, I think I’ll enjoy the droning sounds of Senator McCain, as he gracefully bows out…and hands over a little white privilege at the same time:

And, in all seriousness, it really was a good speech- and not because it was a McCain concession.  My sincere hope is that our nation will come together- and that we ALL take part in making our country the best that it can be.


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tonight’s the night

So, this is the night that I’ve been waiting for.  For several months, I’ve been wishing that I could just fast forward to this date so that we could see who is going to be the new president.

The night is here.  The time has come.  It looks like it’s going to be an Obama victory.

I’ll try to find the words to express my excitement at this historical moment.  I’ll start by saying that this is unbelievable and unreal.  Sometimes we have these dreams, and we understand that it’s possible that they can come true, but when they do…we’re just overwhelmed.  I feel that way about this.  I feel like I’m sitting outside of myself watching this happen.

I waited in line for about an hour and a half to vote during the early voting time in Florida.  It was the best wait of my life.  I felt so proud to be able to exercise my right to vote; so grateful to those who came before me who fought, struggled, and died so that I could be in line to vote.

**just a note** as I was typing this, the reports came in from the returns that Barack Obama has been elected president.  And I need to go get some tissue.

**okay, now that I’m back**  Like really.  This is amazing.  After a long, hard fight, Obama has become the first African American elected as President of the United States of America.  This is such a huge moment.

I’m proud to say that I was on the right side of history when I Baracked the vote.  I’m proud to say that I was alive to see this happen.  I’m so grateful for those who came before me who made this moment possible.  And I’m proud to say that my hope has been restored in the American dream, and I again feel that anything is possible for an African American in this country.

11.4.2008.  history made.


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A Monumental Week…

This week was amazing- in more ways that one.  Professionally, I completed my first FULL week of teaching and coaching middle school volleyball.  What an awesome and exhausting experience.  It’s so rewarding to be able to do something you love; so much so, that the fatigue that you feel from long hours doesn’t bother you.  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to do what I love.

What was the real exciting part of the week for me was the Democratic National Convention.  I blinked back tears as I watched Michelle and Barack give wonderfully exciting speeches that have further propelled our country into anticipation of what’s to come in November.  As I’ve said before, I’ve always been hopeful that I would experience an African-American president during my lifetime.  I just didn’t think it would be this soon.  As I watch Senator Obama execute his campaign with dignity and class, I’m so overwhelmed with pride.  There really aren’t enough words to thoroughly express how I feel, but I’m working on it.

All in all, it was a pretty good week.  I’m still holding on…and I guess that’s a good thing.

Pray for me…


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Apparently, It’s Not Too Late to Apologize…

Yesterday, the House adopted that policy when they issued an apology for the African Americans for slavery and for Jim Crow.

Here’s an excerpt of the article that appeared on MSNBC.com:

The House on Tuesday issued an unprecedented apology to black Americans for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow segregation laws…

Congress has issued apologies before — to Japanese-Americans for their internment during World War II and to native Hawaiians for the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom in 1893. In 2005, the Senate apologized for failing to pass anti-lynching laws.

Five states have issued apologies for slavery, but past proposals in Congress have stalled, partly over concerns that an apology would lead to demands for reparations — payment for damages.

There was no mention of reparations, and I think that’s okay, for a number of reasons.  For one, we are all so intertwined, that I can see people being upset when people who aren’t African Americans receive benefits.  Additionally, I’m not so sure what issuing a check would do- other than be a symbolic attempt at what had been previously promised (40 acres and a mule).  Perhaps that’s important; however, I can’t see that being something that fares well in the United States.  I also see that being something that will divide more than unite.

But, as we’ve learned- it’s not too late to apologize.  And I am glad that it’s happened.


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Julian Bond Speaks the Truth on an Obama Presidency

I like the NAACP and I respect their work, more so historically than presently. And that’s me being honest. I think some people of my generation feel the same way.

However, I think that Julian Bond was on point with his remarks about an Obama Presidency at the NAACP Convention. Here’s an excerpt of an article published on MSNBC.com:

Julian Bond, a veteran civil rights leader, said Obama’s candidacy doesn’t “herald a post-civil rights America, any more than his victory in November will mean that race as an issue has been vanquished in America.”

But he drew loud applause when he said the country, and “all of us here,” are taking pride in the success in this year’s campaign by a candidate who couldn’t have stayed in some cities’ hotels a few decades ago.

“We know that Obama’s electoral success — even if he should win the ultimate prize — won’t signal an end to racial discrimination, but it does mark the high point of an interracial movement that dates back to the Underground Railroad,” Bond said, referring to Cincinnati’s historical role in helping fleeing slaves reach freedom.

I think it’s a great point to acknowledge. And I’m hoping that people don’t HONESTLY believe that having a black president would alleviate YEARS of racial inequality that is still present today. It’s definitely a move in the right direction; however, as to adjust the words of Robert Frost, the United States still “has promises to keep, and miles to go before she sleeps”…at least in the area of race relations.